NFPA Amends Code to Include Electronic Fire Extinguisher Monitoring


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has voted
to amend NFPA 10 and NFPA 72 to include electronic
monitoring of fire extinguishers. Up until now, fire
extinguishers had to be physically inspected every 30 days.
NFPA made the decision to amend existing code during its
annual World Safety Conference and Exposition, which took
place in Orlando, Fla., June 4-8. The ruling will take
effect in September following ratification by the NFPA
Standards Council.

Strong support for the acceptance of existing fire extinguisher monitoring technology came from fire officials, end users and members of the fire protection industry. Mike Halligan of the University of Utah supported the proposed change. The university installed electronically monitored fire extinguishers in two residence halls in September 2003. Prior to that, fire extinguishers were either stolen or tampered with an average of 50 times per year. Since the installation of these new fire extinguishers, only one event of tampering has occurred in three years.

According to NFPA, the system must provide record keeping in the form of an electronic event log at the control panel. The system must also constantly monitor an extinguisher’s physical presence, internal pressure and whether there’s an obstruction that could prevent ready access. In the event that any of the above conditions are found to be compromised, the system must send an alert to officials so they can immediately rectify the situation.

Possible applications include airports, universities, correctional facilities and school districts.

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